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Ke Jian “Jim” Liu, Ph.D.

liu-spotlightKe Jian “Jim” Liu, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, Department of Neurology
Associate Dean for Research, College of Pharmacy
Director, UNM BRaIN Imaging Center
Health Sciences Center, The University of New Mexico
Accelera Diagnostics (STC start-up)

Dr. Liu has disclosed 4 inventions, received one issued U. S. patent, has two pending patent applications, and has one exclusive option to license agreement with Accelera Diagnostics, LLC, for three of his technologies. The STC start-up, a spin-off of investment firm Sunbelt Technologies Management, will develop his occult blood detection technology, his biomarker technology for the detection of microvasculature damage in ischemic stroke, and his arsenic trioxide-inhibitor technology. Dr. Liu and his co-inventor received funding in 2013 from the Health Sciences Center’s CTSA program to develop the biomarker invention.

The occult blood detection technology measures the fluorescence emitted from hemoglobin that has been activated by a simple chemical treatment. The highly sensitive process can detect a single red blood cell and is at least 1,000 times more sensitive than the currently available commercial kit for fecal occult blood. It is ideal for early diagnosis of colorectal cancer and other medical conditions. The biomarker technology measures the damage to microvessels in the brain after an ischemic stroke. Currently, tPA is the only FDA-approved drug for treating ischemic stroke, but less than 5% of stroke patients receive the drug because of the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage due to microvessel damage if administered after the 3-hour treatment window. Since there is a big variation in microvessel damage among stroke patients, the real-time biomarker blood test is able to determine if there is vessel damage. If vessels are intact, then many more patients could receive tPA, saving lives and reducing the severity of disability. Dr. Liu and his co-inventor’s arsenic trioxide (ATO)-inhibitor technology enhances the effects of radiation on solid tumors while reducing its side effects. ATO is one of the most potent radiation sensitizers and is already approved by the FDA for some leukemia treatment. As a repurposed drug, gaining FDA approval for this new application will be easier, faster and cheaper than developing a new drug. Sunbelt Technologies plans to raise $1 million to support development of these inventions.

Dr. Liu’s research interests include studying (1) the molecular mechanism of arsenite toxicology and carcinogenesis; (2) the roles of free radicals and oxidative stress in cancer development; (3) brain injury and intervention in stroke; and (4) the in vivo imaging of oxidative stress and tissue oxygenation.

UNM-Affiliated Issued U. S. Patents

7,223,604 Methods and Kits for the Detection of Erythrocytes, issued May 29, 2007

UNM-Affiliated Pending Patent Applications

Blood Biomarker for Early Blood Brain Barrier Disruption in Ischemic Stroke
Arsenic Trioxide as an Inhibitor of PARP-1 and Treatments of Disease Modulated Through Same